This is too funny. No sooner did I publicly abandon my quest for an official Aspergers / autism assessment, than the assistant to the individual I’d reached out to emailed me and said there was a spot that had just opened up, and did I want to schedule something?
I thought about it for a few minutes. On the one hand, I had my pride to think about. Here, I’d just decided, once and for all, that I didn’t actually need an assessment to know who I was. And I didn’t want to undercut my own decision. Lose face… in my own eyes.
But then it sank in — this is what I’ve been wanting for months — even years — so why the heck would I turn it down? Finally, an opening showed up, and I could actually step through.
So, I took her up on the offer, got on the calendar, and I’ve got an assessment this coming Sunday night.
Holy smokes. It’s been quite the adventure, here in assessment-seeking land. This has been going on since early 2008 (I’ve know I was on the autism spectrum since 1998, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I actually wanted an official diagnosis). And now suddenly, it’s happening. It’s not a legally binding medical diagnosis. I can’t use it to get government benefits or disability (I don’t want them, anyway). It’s a sort of “provisional” evaluation by a highly qualified, certified mental health professional, which is on par with the other sort of assessment I had been lining up a few months ago — but this one is far more accessible, in terms of money, time, and effort.
And that’s really all I need. Just an independent assessment by a qualified professional to corroborate my own beliefs and convictions.
Some people ask why a diagnosis is even necessary. To be honest, it’s not — not entirely. I know who I am, I know what I am. The point of doing this is to have my beliefs independently verified for the sake of others who cannot / will not see what’s going on with me, and who decry self-diagnosis as utterly and completely invalid. It’s to settle that last remaining doubt in the eyes of others and lower the hurdles in our interactions, so we can be discussing things from the same point of view.
It’s also for the sake of discussing with my executive function coach, if the subject ever comes up. My current clinician — the one who sees me “in action” without the masking and the continual suppression of my stims, who has seen a far more Aspie-fied version of me than her predecessor — has yet to broach the subject of autism/Aspergers. If the subject does come up, I want to be prepared to discuss it. And in the case that I go mute (which is always a distinct possibility), I can use my eval as a backup. Just hand her the writeup. And discuss it later… when I can actually talk.
But I’m kind of hoping the subject never comes up. Because this clinician doesn’t seem quite up to speed on the latest research, and I just can’t stand the thought of muddling through it with her, while she figures it out. I am more than happy to discuss autism and Aspergers with her, in a capacity as someone training her on what to look for, how to interact with us, how to accurately assess, and how to interpret what our “signals” mean.
I’ve got no problem educating / training professionals – but I need to do it as a peer, even as an expert in my own right. Being in a subordinate / therapeutic dynamic with someone kind of takes the joy out of that kind of work for me.
Well, anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. The assessment is ON for this Sunday night, and the following Monday evening. I’m excited. Kind of tamping down my woo-hoo-ness, and thinking long and hard about how to approach this… collecting my thoughts… trying to get some sleep… getting my daily workouts… staying the course.
Oh, yeah – and work. Speaking of which, I’d better get ready to go.
More to come.